Vaux Valves Intermarque Silhouettes report

The second part of the weekend featured our Avon Tyres/Image Wheels intermarque silhouettes. They would be one of the highlights of the new Vaux Valves event promoted by Brands Hatch circuit. The event featured several iconic racing and rallying Vauxhalls plus some special guest drivers including John Cleland all the way from Scotland. A number of local Vauxhall dealers were also present displaying their Vauxhall products.

Qualifying saw the usual three way battle for pole position. This time it was Daniel Smith who emerged at the top with his Mercedes SLK, followed very closely by the Vauxhall Tigras of Steve Burrows and Malcolm Blackman. Just 0.060 of a second covered the three of them!  Next up was the leading senior driver Mike Thurley in his Ginetta, then came welcome returnee Ian Hales in his smart Tigra. Colin Smith (Ginetta) just pipped his son Danny (Tigra) to sixth spot, with Eric Boulton, Paul Knight and Phil Spinks completing the top ten (all in Tigras). The rest of the qualifying positions are here:

With a good size crowd of Vauxhall enthusiasts looking on, they were treated to a superb first lap of race one. As the field rushed up to Druids hairpin Blackman and Burrows went either side of Daniel Smith, to make it three abreast. Emerging in front was Blackman, with Daniel regaining second spot as Burrows slowed with a broken stub axle. Initially it was thought there might have been contact, but further inspection showed the failure was on the other side of Steve’s car. Hales now lay third pursued by Thurley whilst Colin and Danny Smith started their family battle for fifth.

The lead battle was becoming intense as they set a blistering pace. The blue Mercedes closed up on the red Tigra, but it looked like Blackman just about had it under control. Thurley slowly reeled in Hales, whilst the Smiths soon had Boulton and Knight for company. Danny Smith got past his father (Colin) on lap 10 and started to pull away, until on lap 15 a slight mistake saw him drop back behind Colin and Boulton. On the last lap he slowed dramatically falling to tenth place. Meanwhile Blackman took another race win (upholding Vauxhall honour) with Daniel Smith just 0.185 of a second adrift. Hales managed to fend off Thurley (who was first senior), then it was Colin Smith just doing enough to keep Boulton at bay. Knight was on Eric’s tail, with a small gap back to Spinks followed by Sear, who overtook Danny Smith on the run to the finish line. Philip Young found good pace to hold off Brian Loram, whilst Reuben Taylor only just managed to start the race, after his team worked miracles to fix his engine (for which he got the driver of the race award). Scott Aprigliano went the full distance in his Peugeot, as John Steward (Mercedes), Nigel Beardsmore (Mercedes) and a slowing Mick Robertson completed the finishers. Sadly we saw retirements for Warren Farazmand and Jon Price, plus Dave York had engine issues and non-started.

The grid draw (courtesy of commentator Josh Barrett) saw Mark Sear elevated to pole position. The rolling start was a bit strung out as Spinks was missing from the front row (he had to withdraw due to family issues which required him to return home). The concertina effect started on the run up to Druids. This resulted in an unfortunate incident, which sadly eliminated the race one winning Tigra of Blackman and saw Daniel Smith facing the wrong way. One beneficiary was Burrows who had charged through from 20th on the grid to be 8th at the end of lap one, just as the safety car was scrambled. Daniel Smith re-started his Mercedes, but it was obvious that all was not well and he pulled off on lap six. Blackman’s car was stuck in the gravel which meant the marshals had to extricate it.

After four laps the track was clear and racing resumed. Sear was keen to maintain his lead, as he tried to edge clear of Knight. However, the white No.3 Tigra stay close to the boot of the green Ginetta and they were soon joined by Boulton, Thurley and Burrows. This created a high speed train of cars, with cars jockeying for positions. Burrows kept his cool picking off cars one by one, until he was behind the leader. As they approached Graham Hill bend on lap 12 Steve made his move. Drawing alongside going into the corner, the two cars briefly touched on the exit. This unsettled Sear and allowed Thurley to nip through. Mike had earlier past Knight along the Brabham straight in a neat slipstreaming move. So the order was now Burrows, Thurley (leading senior), Knight (who had also slipped by the green Ginetta), Sear, Boulton and Hales. They finished in this order pursued by Colin and Danny Smith and the on form Mr Cheese (as Philip took the driver of the race award in his venerable Mitsubishi). Loram was good for tenth, keeping the battling Taylor and Robertson at bay. Aprigliano had Steward for company, whilst Price and Beardsmore had their own little battle for 15th. It was great to see all the battles throughout the field and everyone finished on the lead lap. The only down side was losing two main protagonists.

The next outing will be at Castle Combe in Wiltshire on October 1st.  Will the west country drivers come out on top?

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